Essays

Summoning Ghosts: The Art of Hung Liu

Through June 30, 2013, at the Oakland Museum Daughter of the Revolution, 1993 courtesy museumca.org It took me a while to warm to Hung Liu’s art. Not to the artist […]

Who Pays the Piper?

Removing San Francisco’s Urbanity No doubt the Sheraton bean-counters figured they could make more money turning the space to another “higher” use, like a spa or a high-end celebrity chef […]

Some Notes on Mass Customization

A few years ago, I started writing a piece on mass customization. How do well-funded companies make consumers feel like individuals? Recently I was in Palm Springs and wondered, how […]

The Country Was Saved. Now It’s Time for a Revolution.

courtesy www.barackobama.com The country was saved. Barely. From our vantage point in the liberal Bay Area, it is difficult to understand how half the country could vote for someone who, […]

Vote McGovern

A few days ago, I watched the 2005 documentary One Bright Shining Moment about George McGovern’s run for the presidency in 1972. I was 13 turning 14 at the time […]

A Garden in Leicestershire

Graham Cousins went house-hunting with a spade. He and his wife Jenny decided to sell their comfortable suburban house on the outskirts of Leicester because its modest garden did not […]

Finding the Right Architect

Some Notes on the Rothko Chapel John and Dominique de Menil, 1968. Photo: Hickey-Robertson, Houston courtesy menil.org If there was one person who inspired me to begin this blog, it […]

Class Lenses: A Few Thoughts on Planning and Development in San Francisco

Last week I went to the Principals’ Roundtable sponsored by furniture dealer SideMark in the beautiful all-white Teknion showroom high up in 88 Kearny. The speaker was the director of […]

Slowing Down at SFMOMA

Richard Serra Drawings: A Retrospective Sharon Lockhart: Lunch Break Earlier this year, we saw “Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It was […]

Best of 2011

The greatest thing about 2011 has been Occupy Wall Street. At last, the lie that everybody will be rich has been exposed: the one percent is getting richer and everybody […]

A Week of Loss

Joan Didion, John Gregory Dunne and Quintana Roo Dunne in Malibu, California A great deal of the meaning in Joan Didion’s work can be found in the space between the […]

Kevin Bean: Journey to the Edges of Color

My friend John van Duyl introduced me to the work of Kevin Bean, a local painter who taught at Stanford and has exhibited at the Charles Campbell and John Berggruen […]

The Rest of the News from Monterey

I wrote a blog for The Architect’s Newspaper about the Monterey Design Conference. They wanted it short and sweet. So I decided to post some of the long and sour […]

The Foundation Maybe Kinda Funky

We had every intention of going to the San Francisco version of the Occupy Wall Street rally Saturday afternoon before going to dinner in the city. But we were waylaid […]

September 11, 2011: Snapshots from a decade ago

Twenty years ago, a friend of mine gave me a piece of her art called Twin Towers, Twin Peaks, a title that links her city, New York, to my city, […]

Art Mind: Kurt Schwitters and “Create” at the Berkeley Art Museum

My favorite art shows remind me of an open mind, a mind that is, at least for a time, not distracted by finances, traffic, children, and what author Walker Percy […]

Looking for Light in the Darkness

Joan Mitchell: Lady Painter by Patricia Albers I’ve been on a bit of Joan Mitchell bender. Recently I finished the new biography Lady Painter by Patricia Albers. Also saw the […]

Finding Platner at Princeton

Warren Platner endures as a bright (if occasionally shiny) light from the 1960s and 70s. As an architect, he is best remembered for interiors and furniture design. Interiors tend to […]

A little break to Patmos

An Island Sanctuary: A House in Greece by John Stefanidis I have been reading a lot about the writer Bruce Chatwin recently. One of his many obsessions was the idea […]

It’s Easter and I have a secret: pink.

Pink is my favorite escape color. When I was a kid and older people asked me, “What is your favorite color?” as a way to make conversation, I always answered, […]